Debbie is physically disabled, White British and over 60.

Debbie was unhappy with her social worker, whom she felt was abrupt and did not listen to her. Then after conducting a care assessment, she was informed that her care package would be cut. Although she complained about the social worker’s attitude and the reduction in care hours allocated, she got nowhere. This left her feeling frustrated and disempowered. Although she is normally a confident woman who can speak up for herself, she realised that she needed advocacy support to enable her to get her point across without feeling as if she was being ignored. She then contacted POhWER.

The advocate listened to Debbie and acknowledged her frustration. It was understood that since her care package hours had been reduced, there was not enough time for the carers to do her shopping, laundry and housework, and that the social worker who had done the assessment had not taken the severity of her physical disability into consideration (i.e. that she could not prepare food without support). The advocate explained that her role was to come alongside Debbie and support her to get her point across. Debbie explained that although she was able to write her own letters and make her own phone calls to social services, her own efforts had been unsuccessful.

It was agreed that the advocate would write to social services on her behalf to request a new social worker and for her to be reassessed. It was also agreed that the advocate would support her at the assessment to ensure that she was able to make her wishes known and that she was listened to.

The advocate wrote to social services to reinforce Debbie’s request for a change of social worker and to be reassessed, taking her care needs into account – as she had felt the previous social worker had given the impression that she was not as immobile as she actually is. The advocate also attended the new care assessment with her.

The advocate and Debbie received a written response from social services indicating that Debbie’s original social worker had acted appropriately, which could have been a potential barrier to moving the case forward and getting the outcome Debbie wanted.  However, she was given a new social worker and a reassessment as requested. Debbie and her advocate then explained to her new social worker and Occupational Therapist why she had challenged the previous social worker’s decision. Debbie also physically demonstrated her lack of mobility which the OT recognized as being worthy of a more detailed assessment. It was also clear that Debbie had been right to request a new assessment whereby her needs were recorded accurately with her advocate present.

Debbie has been allocated a new social worker, has been reassessed, and has had her care package reinstated to same levels before the original assessment.

Debbie is thankful for the support she received from her advocate, and has stated that without it, she would not have been listened to and had her wishes acted upon, and felt she would have not been able to survive without the care levels reinstated. Debbie stated she felt stronger after being supported and felt next time there is an issue she will be able to tackle this on her own, but knows where we are if she needs help.